Healthy Spirits Now Open on Cortland, with a Grand Opening Sale on Saturday



It’s finally open. After weeks of curiosity and voyeuristic speculation, the Healthy Spirits liquor store has opened at 249 Cortland, inside the former Chuck’s Grocery space.

The opening of a liquor store would not typically warrant much attention, but Healthy Spirits is not a typical boozemonger; The new Cortland branch is the third outpost in the Healthy Spirits family, which is regarded as one of the City’s more esteemed purveyors of whiskey and agave spirits.

Store manager Nate Breed brings Bernalwood the 411, and extends an invitation to a special grand opening sale on Saturday, Nov. 28:

We’ve now officially opened Healthy Spirits Cortland.

So we are absolutely thrilled to be a part of the Bernal Heights community, and we look forward to what we can add to the neighborhood. Our first shop was founded in 1998 in the Castro District, so we’ve had about 17 years to perfect and evolve who we are and what we do. Our main areas of expertise are beer, whiskey and agave (tequila and mezcal), but everything we carry is hand-selected and extremely quality-focused.

One of our most important goals is consumer education. We strive to have the most knowledgeable and dedicated staff that can make beer and spirits consumption into an immersive, informative and exciting experience. This notion over the years has helped us provide great customer service, but it also breeds an environment that’s accessible for both the novice and connoisseur alike.

Another chance for education lies in our Beer, Bourbon and Agave Clubs, that feature advanced monthly selections with detailed write-ups and interviews with the distillers and brewers themselves. The clubs come with an awful lot of perks, including discounts, first shot at limited releases and occasional free tickets to beer and spirit events. We also strongly believe in supporting local breweries and distilleries while seeking out the esoteric and saving a special place for the classics. It’s important for us to not only understand how something is made and what it tastes like, but also where it’s made and by who.

Anyway that’s Healthy Spirits in a nut shell. And we’d like to extend a special invitation to all your Bernalwood readers to attend our Grand Opening Celebration on Small Business Saturday November 28th at 11am.

We will be giving away free swag all day and having some unbelievable sales: 10 to 40% off everything in the shop. We’ll also be raffling off the right to buy extremely rare bottles of whiskey like Pappy Van Winkle, Buffalo Trace Antique, Four Rose Limited 2015 and St George Single Malt the first 5 hours, and putting other rare and vintage beer and whiskies on the shelf when the doors open. Come early, as the best deals and rarest selections tend to go fast.

Store hours are:

Monday-Thursday: 11am to 10pm
Friday-Saturday: 11am to 11pm
Sunday: 11am to 9pm

See you at the shop!


PHOTOS: Telstar Logistics

Neighbor Gillian Wants to Make Thanksgiving Pie for You



Attention, lovers of pie! We have a friend in the pie business. Neighbor Gillian of Black Jet Baking Company would like to put a pie on your table during Thanksgiving. She says:

I’m Gillian Shaw, and I used to be the baker at The Liberty, where I made Thankgiving pies for many loyal and wonderful Bernal residents for many years.

I now own my own lil’ baking company, but I still live in the hood on Ellsworth. This year, I’ll be slinging pies at the Epicurean Trader on Cortland, offering pumpkin, apple crumb, and chocolate pecan piece for $24.99 per pie.

Epicurean Trader is now taking orders our pies, for pick up next Tuesday and Wednesday, November 24 and 25.

Just talk to Mat at Epicurean to place your pre-order.

PHOTOS: Pie and Neighbor Gillian, courtesy of Black Jet Baking

Neighbor Eliza’s Red Apron Pizzeria Is Coming Soon to Precita Park


For the last few months, the windows of the former Park Bench Cafe at 3214 Folsom (on the corner with Bessie at the west end of Precita Park) have been papered-over to hide the construction taking place inside. The bold, handmade graphics on the paper say “It Will Happen”  — a message that serves as both a tease for Bernal neighbors and a mantra for the woman who is spearheading the project.

That woman is Neighbor Eliza Laffin of Alabama Street, and when work is complete the storefront will become home to Red Apron Pizza. Neighbor Eliza tells us more about what to expect:

My tag line is: Every neighborhood deserves great pizza.

I’ve always wanted a pizza restaurant in the ‘hood. I’ve spent 20 years dreaming about it. And now I’m going to make it happen!

I want customers to walk in the door and see a kitchen at home. Red Apron Pizzeria is a place where our neighborhood will enjoy great pizza, made with great ingredients, and a place kids will enjoy. It will be warm, welcoming, and family-friendly; approachable, unfussy, and absolutely first-rate.

I want to make Red Apron the best pizzeria in the neighborhood. (Adjacent territories also welcome, of course!)

As a preview of coming attractions, Neighbor Eliza also shared some photos of her food. Here’s a slice of her pizza, with toasted pignoli-basil pesto, sliced yukon gold potato, chèvre, and a little drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil on top:


And for dessert, here are some of her zeppoles:


Yum! A preview of what’ll be on the rest of the menu is right here.

The Gods of Construction and The Myriad Permits are notoriously fickle and angry, but with a little luck Neighbor Eliza hopes to open Red Apron Pizza sometime in January. Please root for her, and join with her to recite the mantra: “It. Will. Happen!

PHOTOS: Top, Telstar Logistics. Food, courtesy of Red Apron Pizza

Sandwich-Making Robot in Andi’s Market Looks Like Terminator, Tastes Like Proust


Last week, a new worker joined the staff at Andi’s Market on Cortland Avenue: a fully automated, sandwich-making robot. Created by Bistrobot, the newfangled machine makes peanut butter sandwiches on fancy white bread with your choice of honey, blackberry jam, sweet chili, or chocolate sauce.


Bistrobot CTO Hamid Sani tells Bernalwood:

The machine at the Andi’s market is our first deployed automated sandwich maker. The machine is placed inside the store and the customer can place an order through a tablet kiosk, pay $2 (cash or credit), and watch our robot make them a custom sandwich. Simple as that.

Bistrobot is a startup that recently graduated from Y Combinator. We have a small but dedicated team with the goal of making robotic platforms that can make food, starting with sandwiches.

Neighbor Flo adds that some Bernal Heights DNA flows deep within the Bistrobot’s mechanized heart:

I live on Ellsworth St. My nephew, Steve Littell, is a chef and machinist from Chicago who came to SF with five engineer start-up buddies for the purpose of making this machine and others like it with more sophistication. My nephew now lives on Ellsworth St. too!

Locavore robots! Perhaps this was inevitable.

Neighbor Darcy filmed a video of the sandwichbot in action:

Yesterday, your Bernalwood editor visited Andi’s to conduct my own taste test of our robotic sandwich future. I ordered a peanut butter and honey sandwich, and when it emerged from the Bistrobot’s mechanical maw, it looked like this:


And the taste? Well, it tasted just like a sandwich mom would have made — if mom was a faceless automaton who looked like a mutant Lionel train set encased in a transparent plastic box. As a culinary experience, it was certainly worthy of any school lunchbox. As an entertainment experience, it was far more tasty than anything you’d get at the Musée Méchanique — and much closer to home too.

But don’t take my word for it. Stop by Andi’s Market, 820 Cortland (between Ellsworth and Gates) and command the Bistrobot to make you a sandwich.  Do it while you still can, because today, the sandwich robot works for you. Someday, however, you may work for it.

PHOTOS: Telstar Logistics. Video courtesy of Darcy Lee

Saturday: You’re Invited to the Bernal Mosque and Islamic Center’s First-Ever Open House


Ask and ye shall receive! Thanks to the the amazing response we received for Bernalwood’s interview with Zishan Safdar about South Bernal’s Mosque and Islamic Center, the mosque is holding an open house for the Bernal community this Saturday, November 14.

Zishan extends the invitation:

This is going to be ICSF’s first open-house event since it was founded in 1959. Better late than never, right?

We’re all super-excited and hope you are, too! During the event, there will be background history about the mosque, the events that go on there, Q&A, and most importantly, some mouth-watering snacks.

We look forward to seeing all of you at the event on Saturday, November 14th, 2015.

EVERYONE is welcome! :)

The open house will go from 12pm to 2pm at the mosque on the corner of Crescent and Andover. If you plan to attend (and you should!), please RSVP to Full details below:


Hillside Supper Club Team Invades the Kitchen at James Beard House


The James Beard Awards are the Oscars for the culinary trade, and the James Beard Foundation is its Academy. Earlier this month, chefs Tony Ferrari and Jonathan Sutton from the Hillside Supper Club on Precita Park were invited to New York to cook a special dinner at the James Beard House, and it was quite a big to-do.

Of course, Chef Tony and Chef Jonathan also live right around the corner from the restaurant, so the glory bestowed upon Neighbor Tony and Neighbor Jonathan — and, by commutative extension, the entire Dominion of Bernalwood — is even more sweet.

Neighbor Tony’s brother Austin traveled to NYC to participate in the festivities, and he tells Bernalwood why the James Beard Dinner meant so much to Team HSC:

Hillside Supper Club has been a close watcher and member of the James Beard Foundation for a while. When Tony was in college he earned a scholarship from them, and with that scholarship he traveled to Europe to indulge in his culinary dream. The James Beard Foundation is a non-profit culinary foundation founded by James Beard. He was a food writer, teacher, ad cookbook writer. Think, Julia Child; except the male version. The Hillside Supper Club team was invited to cook at the Beard House based upon our cooking style, our inspiration, and hard work and dedication. It is probably one of the best events we will ever do in our culinary career, to be honest.

Jonathan Sutton, Austin Ferrari, and Tony Ferrari at James Beard House, NYC

Cooking a James Beard Dinner is sexy accomplishment, but the hotness doesn’t stop there. In fact, like a big, wet, dripping maraschino perched atop a Tcho chocolate almond cake with amaretto cream, smoked sea salt, and candied almonds, Neighbor Jonathan took the sexy one step further recently when Marie Claire named him one of the 11 Most Eligible Bachelor Chefs in America. Seriously:


Bernal ladies, if you’re hungry, you know where to find him in the kitchen.

PHOTO: Top, Hillside Supper Club on Instagram

Chicano Nuevo Restaurant Opens Tonight in Former Emmy’s Space on Virginia


Neighbor Abraham Nunez has created some new yum for your tum. Neighbor Abraham is also Chef Abraham, and he’s opening a brand-new restaurant in the former (good karma) Emmy’s Spaghetti Shack space at 18 Virginia Ave, just across from our Taoist Safeway. Neighbor Abraham’s restaurant is called Chicano Nuevo, and it offers food from the borderlands, right here in our metaphorical front yard. Chicano Nuevo’s grand opening is scheduled for tonight, Wednesday October 28, and Bernalwood is told:

In the location of the old Emmy’s Spaghetti Shack, right around the corner from tequila bar mainstay El Amigo, arrives the new So-Cal inspired Chicáno Nuevo.

Chef and owner Abraham Nunez brings his family’s recipes from Chula Vista to Bernal Heights, and recreates his childhood— from the border taco joints to the traditional holiday meals— in the form of Ensendena style “Baja” fish tacos, three-cheese tamales with an infused chile masa, and queso fundido served in authentic  casuelitas de barra, sent here straight from Tijuana.

Nunez, a Bernal Heights resident and enthusiast, is an alumnus of Emmy’s, where he designed and managed its cocktail program. He is also well known in the neighborhood as one of the former lead bartenders at St. Mary’s Pub.

“I’m still in denial of it actually happening,” said Nunez about opening the place. “There really isn’t anything else like this in the city, and I am just really excited to share this kind of food with my friends and neighbors.”

Chicano Nuevo opens to the public Wednesday Wednesday Oct 28, with plans to serve late-night fare on weekends, staying open until 3am.

UPDATE Oct 28, 7:30 pm: Neighbors Susie and John where first in the door at the grand opening tonight with their son Eddie, and they shared this photo of Chef Abraham with Eddie. Neighbor Susie says:

We came to Chicano Nuevo based on the Bernalwood post. We’re their first customers. Potato taquitos! Everything was very delicious, especially the fish tacos w yummy soup on the side!


PHOTO: Top, Neighbor Abraham Nunez